The Benefits of Play-Based Learning in Kindergarten

Kindergarten is a time when kids explore and investigate. They learn that working together can help achieve goals and have fun while learning!

Kids will also begin identifying two-dimensional and basic three-dimensional shapes. They will also develop a solid foundation in math, including learning how to count and understanding that larger numbers “contain” smaller numbers.


Many parents and educators fear that academic instruction in early childhood classrooms will supplant play-based learning. But there is no need to choose between a child’s social-emotional development and rigorous academic content. In fact, new research shows that children in kindergarten who receive challenging academic content do better on reading and math tests than their peers who receive less demanding classroom instruction.

Kindergartners learn to build a deeper understanding of their world by integrating what they are learning into their existing knowledge. They start to develop a “knowledge bank account” and become familiar with the characters, settings and major events of stories such as Harold and the Purple Crayon or How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

They also learn about their own identities and cultures by creating colorful self-portraits or by identifying members of their families through persona dolls. In addition, they explore science concepts such as comparing and contrasting objects and events and investigating the world around them through activities like dissecting flowers or exploring the properties of soil.


In addition to academics, kindergarten offers a valuable opportunity for socialization. It teaches children how to interact with others, learn about their emotions and develop problem-solving skills. Socialization also fosters empathy, improves language skills and helps children become more confident in their abilities.

By the end of the school year, kindergartners should be able to identify and write all 26 letters of the alphabet in both uppercase and lowercase. They should also be able to recognize and read 30 high-frequency words (such as the, and, or) that are used in everyday speech.

Compared to preschool, where kids often play to learn, kindergarten classrooms tend to be more structured. Teachers are often required to instruct students in short periods of time and expect them to retain information and have impulse control. This can be a challenge for many children, especially those without experience in a classroom setting. Children may need extra encouragement, support and guidance to get through the transition.

Emotional Development

Children can’t learn in a classroom where they are constantly struggling to follow directions, get along with their peers and control their emotions. Kids who cannot express themselves or handle frustration with other kids are more likely to resort to hitting, screaming and throwing objects, which can interfere with classroom instruction.

A child who does not know how to ask for help or wait his turn is less likely to do well in kindergarten, even if he knows his letters and numbers. Kids who often explode with anger or melt down are not ready for school either; their behavior can disrupt the entire class, creating obvious safety issues for other students.

If your 5-year-old has trouble controlling his emotions or interacting with other kids, consider delaying kindergarten for another year. This is called redshirting, which is also used by college athletes who are physically ready for the next level but wish to gain experience against stronger competition.

Physical Development

Throughout the first five years children grow and develop rapidly across four domains: motor (physical), communication and language, cognitive and social and emotional. Physical development involves the growth and strengthening of a child’s bones, muscles and ability to move and touch their surroundings.

Children with strong motor skills can explore their environment and learn about the objects around them with a degree of control that was not possible before they had the strength to sit, crawl or walk. They also have the ability to play with and use their hands in a variety of ways, such as catching a ball or drawing pictures.

Caregivers can support a child’s physical development by providing them with enriching experiences and limiting their screen time. They can also encourage their children to participate in activities that promote movement, like playing tag or dancing. They can also set a good example by being physically active themselves.

The Benefits of Play-Based Learning in Kindergarten
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